Turkey warns Iran, Russia to reign in Syria’s Idlib bombing

Source:AFP Published: 2018/1/10 23:33:39

Turkey on Wednesday warned Iran and Russia to hold back the Syrian regime in bombing the rebel-held northern Idlib Province, as tensions mounted ahead of mooted peace talks later this month.

Ankara has been working closely with Russia and Iran to end the Syrian conflict over the last months but has stepped up pressure on Moscow and Tehran as the bombardments on Idlib intensified.

Russia wants to bring all the parties in the Syrian conflict together for a conference in its Black Sea resort of Sochi at the end of this month but the tensions with Ankara are proving a major obstacle.

Observers have also warned of a major humanitarian catastrophe in case of more intense intervention in Idlib, especially for tens of thousands of internally displaced people there.

"Iran and Russia should fulfil their responsibility. If you are guarantors - and you are - they should stop the regime," Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told the official Anadolu news agency.

Cavusoglu said Turkey was acting as guarantor for the actions of the opposition and it was up to Russia and Iran to do the same.

Ankara has supported the anti-Assad opposition throughout the almost seven-year Syrian civil war while Russia and Iran have backed Assad.

However, despite the differences, Turkey had teamed up with the two other powers in a bid to bring a lasting peace to Syria, even though analysts have long warned the three-way alliance is highly brittle.

In the biggest public flare-up of tensions with Moscow and Tehran in months, Ankara has already summoned the Russian and Iranian ambassadors over the Idlib bombing.

Cavusoglu said 95 percent of the violations in Idlib were carried out by the regime and the groups backing the regime.

Idlib Province is almost entirely controlled by anti-government forces that are dominated by a jihadist outfit known as Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) consisting mostly of former fighters from the Al-Nusra Front, an Al Qaeda affiliate.

Posted in: MID-EAST

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